It was on all the television news and all the newspapers so it must be true. All of us kids who were in the children's home I wrote about in my book 'Elbows off the Table' are to receive compensation. The amazing thing is that the articles in the papers could have been lifted straight from the pages of my book they were that similar.
I can't believe it! Compensation? It is going right back to the 1950's. There must be hundreds of us? Perhaps thousands? How is that going to work? Also I know that abuse was going on even before the 1950's. I met one man who was ten years older than me and he still had nightmares about his time there.
I have mixed feelings about receiving money as compensation. Too little and I shall feel insulted. Too much and I shall feel guilty. Where is the money coming from? How does it compensate for an unhappy childhood? Will money bring back my sense of loss? I recovered eventually why should I get compensated?
One concern I have regarding this and which has been causing me some anxiety, is to do with the good and decent people I met as a child. There is nothing in the news reports about these caring people who did their job with proper respect for the kids. I mention some of those who had a good influence in my book. Those who have now passed away, are they to be tarred with the same brush?
I phoned one of the national papers who ran the compensation article to express my feelings about this but they were not at all interested in hearing about the good in people. I suppose that doesn't sell papers?
I am considering changing the title or sub-title of my book to include the name of the Shirley Oaks Children's Home. I am not sure how I feel about doing that either. Remember how the Jimmy Saville story was in the news when I published my book and I felt some might think I was jumping on the band-wagon? I feel that now, but at the same time I want people to know about my book too. I mean, that's why I wrote it!